London: Teenage batsman Haseeb Hameed is relishing the prospect of being a "target" for Test bowlers after his inclusion in England's squad for their tour of Bangladesh. The 19-year-old Lancashire opener whose style has drawn similarities with former great Geoffrey Boycott, has looked up to Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.
Hameed has scored 1,154 runs for Lancashire, including four hundreds, at an average of 52.45 in 15 First Division matches in the County Championship. With Alex Hales missing the tour on security grounds, Hameed now has a chance to partner England captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order.
Hameed's painstaking, almost old-fashioned, batting style has been compared to of Yorkshire and England opening great Geoffrey Boycott
"It's funny because Boycott was one of my dad's role models growing up so maybe it has something to do with that," said Hameed.
He however finds his idol in arguably the greatest batsman of the recent times - Sachin Tendulkar. "Growing up it was Sachin Tendulkar. More recently I’d say my modern day heroes are Virat Kohli and Joe Root," Hameed told ECB website.
If he gets the chance to make his England debut in Bangladesh, Hameed would become England’s youngest player since Ben Hollioake in 1997, and the fifth-youngest in history. That's something which is already playing up on his mind, and the Lancashire based cricketer is already started to plan for it.
"I am sure Test bowlers might target me," Hameed said on Friday.
"But the same principles apply. I have to control what I can and give myself the best chance to go out there and succeed and that means preparing well," added Hameed, the son of an Indian-born cricket fan who settled in the Lancashire town of Bolton, northwest England.
"But if you look at me I'm not as physically developed as other guys so I rely a lot on timing and patience and spending time at the crease.
"Growing up in the north -- with wet and slow wickets -- I've had to wait for the ball and play late so I'm sure that has helped me develop that sort of technique." Hameed said.
With growing influence of T20 cricket though, Hameed is keen on bulking himself up, so that he could clear the fence more often, thus adding another dimension to his game. "I’d like to get a little bit bigger - so beef up in the gym maybe so then I can hit the ball a bit further," the teenage batmsan told the ECB website.
Hameed, left out of the England Under-19 squad for last year's junior World Cup in Bangladesh, paid tribute to his father Ismail's influence by adding: "My dad has been the one who has taught me everything I know and even to this day we work together; it is as much about the mental side as the cricketing side."
The young cricketer has already managed to get on the record books. He became the first Lancashire player of any age to score a century in each innings of a Roses Match, as well as be the youngest in the post-War era to be awarded a Lancashire county cap.
But that's where it all starts for young Hameed who dreams to be a part of an Ashes-winning England side and perhaps also play a hand in what could be a historic World Cup winning team for England.
With inputs from AFP